Thursday, December 15, 2016

Amazon Go: Just Walk Out

‘No lines, no checkout. (No, seriously.)’ I like where Amazon is headed at it punches further into bricks-and-mortar retail with its Grab-and-Go grocery experience, Amazon Go. It’s a store with no checkout required. An app on your smart phone along with technology (computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning) take care of that. You scan the app to enter the store, take what you need, and just leave. Technology automatically tracks everything in or out of your virtual cart. Pick something up, it’s in. Put something back, it’s out. When you leave the store, technology adds up your virtual cart and your Amazon account is charged. A receipt will be sent to the app. See how Amazon Go works. Questions such as handling shoplifting and monitoring age for alcohol purchases are still to be answered. The concept is currently in beta in Seattle with Amazon employees, and will open to the public in 2017.

Technology continues to disrupt retail and, every now and then, it makes things easy, timely and fun. This ‘Just Walk Out Shopping’ feels like tech working as it really should. How many times have you aborted a grocery dash because it’s rush hour in the supermarket and lines are out the door? No more if Amazon continues in this direction. With an account, a smartphone and a free app you are in, out, rung up and cooking with gas.

It’s another smart move from Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos as he serves up options and carves out the future. One of his leadership lessons is: "determine what your customers need, and work backwards." Take the pain points out of shopping and a retailer wins an instant fan base. Way to go.